--The Apollo Theater announced today that it will posthumously induct Michael Jackson into the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame at its annual gala benefit next June. The award, the non-profit theater’s highest honor, also includes a memorial plaque that will be installed on the theater’s Walk of Fame. The walk will be constructed this fall and Jackson’s plaque will be installed next spring. He will join such previous Legends inductees as James Brown and Ella Fitzgerald.

In addition, the Michael Jackson Tribute Wall—a 100-foot long blue plywood wall erected after the singer’s death—will now become part of the Apollo Theater Archive Project. Featuring fan tributes from Harlem and beyond, the wall was donated by owners of the property adjacent to the Apollo.


--Artists Booker T. Jones, Ahmad Jamal, George Clinton, and the Ohio Players will be among the performers at the 20th annual Chrysler Financial African Festival of the Arts. The event is slated for Sept. 4-7 at Chicago’s Washington Park.


--Actress/singer Sheryl Lee Ralph is staging her 19th annual Divas Simply Singing! HIV/AIDS benefit Oct. 10 at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif. The performers joining her this year include Yolanda Adams, Brenda Russell, Yo-Yo, Barbara Morrison and Stax/Concord newcomer N’dambi.


--Pretty Ricky will release its self-titled third album through its own
Bluestar label with distribution via Big Cat/Tommy Boy Entertainment. The group’s album will arrive in stores Nov. 17. Lead single, “Tipsy in Dis Club,” stands at No. 53 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Formerly signed to Atlantic, Pretty Ricky released two albums: 2005’s “Bluestars” and 2007’s “Late Night Special.” The group’s album sales total 1.4 million per Nielsen SoundScan. Its highest-charting Hot 100 single thus far is “Grind With Me”(No. 7).


--The hotly debated issue of artist performance rights will be among the panel discussion topics at the 29th annual Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association (BESLA) conference. The conference will take place Oct. 21-25 in Palm Beach, Aruba at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino.